Economy Secretary Ken Skates has announced the red route as the preferred option for the £250m Deeside corridor scheme.
The scheme, which aims to modernise and relieve pressure on the stretch, will see increased capacity on the existing A548, with a new road linking the A55 and A548 just after the Flintshire Bridge. It forms part of over £650m of Welsh Government infrastructure improvements in North Wales, with Deeside in particular benefiting from unprecedented Welsh Government investment.
Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates said:
“I’m delighted to announce the red route as my preferred option to address the congestion problem in the Deeside Corridor, A55/A494/A548, area.
“Having taken full account of the technical, social, economic and environmental aspects of the scheme and listened to the consultation responses, I’m confident that this significant investment will address the existing problems and compliment improvements across the Deeside area.
“The next steps will be to develop a preliminary design, which considers the environmental and engineering issues in more detail and looks to address some of the issues raised during the consultation.
“I’m hopeful that this can all be completed quickly, with businesses and commuters feeling the benefit of this project at the earliest opportunity, strengthening the social and economic links between Deeside Industrial Estate, Chester and beyond in the process.”
The Economy Secretary also announced he would be progressing the delivery of the A494 River Dee Bridge Improvement scheme to investigate options to resolve the existing traffic bottleneck and overcome issues with the existing bridge.
On rail connectivity he said he would be commissioning further work with Network Rail on a new Deeside Parkway and the co-location of Shotton High at Shotton Low at a new integrated station. This would enable a seamless interchange for passengers wanting to change between the Wrexham – Bidston line and the North Wales Coast mainline.
In conjunction with Flintshire Council and Network Rail we will develop a scheme for a new Deeside Parkway station to improve access to the business park, including the introduction of park and ride provision. Facilities for road freight traffic will also be considered.
This builds on the over £1m awarded to Flintshire Council in March to improve bus services and encourage walking and cycling in Deeside. Part of this money will be spent on developing bus interchanges, bus priority measures on the B5129 Shotton Corridor and bus infrastructure on Deeside Business Park, while the remainder will support the introduction of active travel routes within the Deeside Business Park.
This is all in addition further investment of £4.7m to support the Northern Gateway and continue with building additional road infrastructure to open land for development and attract further businesses to locate at the site.
“The investment and initiatives I have outlined will go a long way to address the barriers to accessing jobs in the Deeside Hub. They will also form one of the building blocks that will deliver a North East Wales Metro vision of a well-connected and high quality integrated transport system, which maximises active travel opportunities, something which will provide huge benefits for the region.”